It must have been the wee hours of the morning. I was dreaming of a dawnless night. A world where eternal darkness prevailed. I dreamt that people were erecting a statue to nothingness. The statue was growing taller as the people at the base added more and more darkness…lumps of it. And there were multitudes just pouring in and adding more of that elemental darkness. The statue just fed on all that and kept growing towards a bewildered sky. There was no end in sight. I woke up to find that it was indeed dark outside. And there was a power outage. It is an unsettling feeling  when your nightmare is the mirror image of what you wake up to. Unable to sleep anymore, I pondered over the dream. I asked myself, what is it about statues that people feel so compelled to erect one or pull another down? And what does either of these acts symbolize? 

I thought of all the statues that I had seen or heard of. The ones that dot most major Indian intersections, grave in their expressions, pointing the way, standing still as pigeons come home to roost and we wind our way around their round-abouts. The inscriptions, if we care to read them, tell us some basic details and that’s that. But apart from their traffic regulating and homing pigeons (pun) value, statues are representations of legacies- of the person, of the ideology, of the administration and most importantly, of the motley group we put together under a common flag, currency and constitution- and optimistically call-  the Nation. 

Poems